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Monday, February 23, 2009

23rd February

As it was half term, I took my wife up to her mums home on the caost in Norfolk.
While away, I forunately didn't miss anything. The species are much the same, though the number of waterfowl on the lake has dropped significantly.

Birds present today:
Water Rail:
Two birds were seen today in the rail ditch.
Siskin: Birds were heard calling in area 24.

Snow Buntings at Salthouse

Bewick's Swan a pair plus a cygnet near Ludham.

A flock of 156 Bewick's with the odd Whooper Swan mixed in, near Potter Higham

Drake Common Teal at Salthouse

Norfolk as usual proved quite productive, and even the weather was kind to me.
I was staying on the coast just below Happisburgh. Short walks along the coast here produced good numbers of Red-throated Divers, 1 Black Throated Diver, Common Scoters and Guillemots on the sea plus a flock of 30 Snow Buntings feeding on a shingle ridge. Birding on afternoon at Hickling Broads, Stubbs Mill produced 4 Common Cranes,15 Marsh Harriers, 1f Hen Harrier, 2 Merlins, 2 Barn Owls and a Cettis Warbler. Driving around on my three day stay produced 20 Barn Owls, Norfolk is definitely the place to go to see this species as it patrols the edges of the fields and verges.
I put one day aside to meet up with friends and bird the north coast, from Salthouse in the east to Titchwell in the west. .
1st stop he Beach Car Park at Salthouse produced at least 50 Snow Buntings, and 25 Turnstones, that given time approached to within 5ft of you. This is due to the fact that the area has seed scattered around, the noise of the Turnstones turning over the shingle all at the same time is very loud. On the sea here, were again good numbers of Red-throated Divers, 1 Black-throated Diver and a few Fulmars.
We moved on to Cley Coastguard car park in the hope of bumping in to the Glaucous Gull that had been feeding on a seal carcass. How ever the carcass had drifted off and so had the gull. In the field nearby was a flock of several hundred Brent Geese that were accomanied by 3 Pale-bellied Brent Geese.
We did call in at Lady Ann's drive to look for White-fronted Geese, but were suprised by how few geese were present. They must have already started to head back north. Choseley Barn produced good numbers of Corn and Yellow Hammers. We had lunch at the Titchwell Cafe before heading out on to the reserve, a very obliging Water Rail fed in the ditch by the path allowing superb views(not a patch on the Regent's Park birds). The light was magnificant, birds were every where, mostly birds you would expect to see at this time of year. Highlights here and on the sea were; 8 Red Breated Mergansers, 20 Goldeneye, Black Brant, Spotted Redshank, 30 Ruff, 2000+ Golden Plover and Mediterranean Gull. Our last stop I decided would be the car park at Stiffkey, hopefully for raptors. This is not my usual viewing point, that is at the end of a long rough and bumpy track at Warham Greens that overlooks the salt marshes. This after all the recent bad weather was much to muddy. There was already a few birders present when we pulled up. We hadn't been there long when I spotted the first Hen Harrier a female, over the next hour and a half we were to see 1m Hen Harrier, 12 Marsh Harriers, 1f Peregrine, 2 Merlins, 25 Little Egrets plenty of other birds to keep you interested. As the light began to fade we all headed back to our various destinations.


Debbie Pledge said...

Our group went to Holkham on 14 Feb and they had lots of owl sightings.

Tony Duckett said...

Were there still plenty of geese there then? It is normally a gauranteed site for White-fronted Geese.Were there any Buntings or Twite on the salt marsh?

Debbie Pledge said...

I haven't got the list yet for BirdTrack. I was not able to go myself. I think maybe only one person in the group saw snow buntings. Not sure about the geese ... maybe pink footed?